MEP Gunnar Hökmark who recently visited Azerbaijan in his role as chairman of the Policy Committee of Euronests Parliamentary Assembly and Hans-Gunnar Adén, former ambassador to Azerbaijan participated on Friday in a seminar on developments in Azerbaijan. An interested crowd of about 30 people had gathered to listen and ask questions.
Hans-Gunnar Adén started out referring to a number of international index that “classify” Azerbaijan as unfree and as a dictatorship. He noted that the Azerbaijani society rather go backwards than forwards in terms such as human rights.
Hans-Gunnar Adén also told the audience about his experiences, including how religion affects the Azeri society. Gunnar Hökmark explained how important it is that politicians from the West visit Azerbaijan, but alsothat they meet with government critics. “This will give the critics some protection” he said.
The Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation report – Azerbaijan in the shadow of a dictatorship – were distributed to all present. At the same time, a new theme page on the Foundation website was launched. Visit the new page, Democracy for Azerbaijan.
The panelists at the seminar examined the importance of the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Baku in late May. Does it makes sense that this event will be held in Azerbaijan, asked one person in the audience, who also pointed out that the Hockey World Cup 2014 will be held in Belarus. Although it is also a dictatorship. Gunnar Hökmark meant that it is important that many visitors come to Azerbaijan and hopefully they will see a bit of the Azerbaijani reality. Instead of only the regime’s doctored image of the country. “But the Hockey World Championship should not be held in Belarus,” said Hökmark and explained that the event will most likely only be used by the dictatorship.
See and hear what else was said at the seminar.
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